Team Profile: United States

The U.S. emerged on top of the CONCACAF final qualifying group, thanks to key victories over El Salvador (at home) and Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras (both on the road) to claim a World Cup berth with one game to go in the qualifiers.


  • Coach: Bob Bradley
  • Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/England), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton/England), Tim Howard (Everton/England)
  • Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes/France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover/Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford/England), Clarence Goodson (IK Start/Norway), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan/Italy), Jonathan Spector (West Ham/England)
  • Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach/Germany), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany), Clint Dempsey (Fulham/England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers/Scotland), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus/Denmark), Stuart Holden (Bolton/England), Jose Torres (Pachuca/Mexico)
  • Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull/England), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles), Robbie Findley (Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Pachuca/Mexico)


Style of play: Coach Bob Bradley favours a 4-4-2 formation, with a strong defensive spine of goalkeeper Tim Howard, centre back Jay DeMerit and his son, Michael Bradley, in the centre of midfield. And although the U.S. can sit back and soak up the pressure and then hit on the counter-attack, they are most dangerous when they move the ball forward. While Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark provide the steel and grit in the centre of midfield, wide midfielders Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey (if not deployed as a forward) create scoring opportunities either by getting the ball to the feet of forward Jozy Altidore or using their speed to get by the defenders. The stamina of Clark and Bradley also allow them to venture forward in attack and get back into position should the U.S. lose possession. Look for the fullbacks, Carlos Bocanerga and Jonathan Spector, to venture forward down the wings.

1st round matches:

  • June 12 vs. England in Rustenburg
  • June 18 vs. Slovenia in Johannesburg
  • June 23 vs. Algeria in Pretoria

Projected starting lineup (4-4-2): (GK) Tim Howard - (D) Jonathan Spector, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Jay DeMerit - (M) Michael Bradley, Landon Donovan, Ricardo Clark, DaMarcus Beasley - (F) Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey


  • Goalkeeping: Unlike Group C rival England, the U.S. is spoiled for choice at goalkeeper. Starter Tim Howard is an athletic shot-stopper and one of the best 'keepers playing in the English Premier League. He is backed up by Brad Guzan and
  • Marcus Hahnemann, two excellent goalkeepers who also play in the Premier League. Midfield: The U.S squad has a deep pool of midfield talent, led by defensive pivot Michael Bradley and lead attacker Landon Donovan. Ricardo Clark and DaMarcus Beasley round out the talented foursome, while players the calibre of Benny Feilhaber and Jose Torres are available off the bench.
  • Balanced attack: Coach Bob Bradley can rely on goals from all over the field, not just his forwards. His balanced attack should take the pressure of his strikers.


  • Defence: Two key starters - central defender Oguchi Onyewu and left back Carlos Bocanegra - are still recovering from injuries and may not be fully fit in South Africa. The potential loss of Onyewu is especially damaging, as he was the team's best defender at last year's Confederations Cup.
  • No star striker: For all the hype about Jozy Altidore, the truth is the talented youngster is overrated. He's coming off a poor season with English side Hull City, and he's the best striker that the U.S. has with Charlies Davies out injured. Without a world-class striker, the Americans' attack will be somewhat punch-less.
  • Discipline: Midfield linchpin Michael Bradley is known for being too aggressive and being sent off for his trouble. The defenders are also known for their rash tackles, which could lead to disciplinary problems for coach Bradley.

Players to watch:

  • Michael Bradley - Bradley is a tenacious midfielder who never relents in pursuit of a win, and always wants to control the space between each penalty area. Capable of playing both an offensive and defensive role, Bradley is often praised for his incredible stamina.
  • Landon Donovan - Donovan's speed has always been an asset for club and country; and whether he plays out-wide or up front, he angers defenders with his ability to break away as soon as he senses a lead pass.
  • Tim Howard - Howard, another in a long line of excellent American goalkeepers, combines great shot-blocking skills with the ability to make athletic, highlight-reel saves.

Key injuries/squad omissions: Coach Bob Bradley decided not to select Charlie Davies. The striker was injured in a car crash last October and returned to training in April. Defender Oguchi Onyewu is still fighting for fitness after injuring knee ligaments back in October, but was named to the roster. Starting left-back Carlos Bocanegra is recovering from a hernia operation. Midfielders DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu and Stuart Holden have struggled with injury problems in the past few months. Bradley cut the following players from his preliminary roster: strikers Brian Ching and Eddie Johnson; midfielders Sacha Kljestan, Alejandro Bedoya and Robbie Rogers; and defenders Chad Marshall and Heath Pearce. Forward Freddy Adu was overlooked.

Prognosis: Second round. The U.S. has a point to prove after meekly exiting the tournament in the first round four years ago. This is more solid team than the one that competed in Germany, but although they've been handed a favourable draw, the Americans will find the going tough in South Africa. Injuries to Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu leave them weak at the back, while the lack of a world-class striker raises serious questions about their ability to go toe-to-toe with opponents. They'll get through to the second round, but that's as far as they will go.


  • Current FIFA ranking: #14
  • Qualification route: The United States defeated Barbados in a two-game playoff in the second round of CONCACAF qualifying. The U.S. then finished first in Group 1 of the semifinal round, and first in the final group stage of the CONCACAF qualifiers (20 points) ahead of Mexico (19 points).
  • Key to qualification: Attacking depth. The U.S. bagged an impressive total of 42 goals in the CONCACAF qualifiers, but didn't just rely on a handful of players to supply the firepower. Instead, players from all over the field (defenders, midfielders and forwards) made key offensive contributions.
  • Crucial result: A gutsy 3-2 win over Honduras (Oct 10, 2009) before a hostile crowd in San Pedro Sula wrapped up the World Cup berth for the Americans with a game to spare in the final round of the CONCACAF qualifiers.
  • Qualifying record: 18 games played, 13 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses
  • Goals for: 42
  • Goals against: 16
  • Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Jozy Altidore (6)

Qualifying results: (home team listed first)

  • June 15, 2008 - United States 8, Barbados 0
  • June 22, 2008 - Barbados 0, United States 1
  • Aug. 20, 2008 - Guatemala 0, United States 1
  • Sept. 6, 2008 - Cuba 0, United States 1
  • Sept. 10, 2008 - United States 3, Trinidad and Tobago 0
  • Oct. 11, 2008 - United States 6, Cuba 1
  • Oct. 15, 2008 - Trinidad and Tobago 2, United States 1
  • Nov. 19, 2008 - United States 2, Guatemala 0
  • Feb. 11, 2009 - United States 2, Mexico 0
  • March 28, 2009 - El Salvador 2, United States 2
  • April 1, 2009 - United States 3, Trinidad and Tobago 0
  • June 3, 2009 - Costa Rica 3, United States 1
  • June 6, 2009 - United States 2, Honduras 1
  • Aug. 12, 2009 - Mexico 2, United States 1
  • Sept. 5, 2009 - United States 2, El Salvador 1
  • Sept. 9, 2009 - Trinidad and Tobago 0, United States 1
  • Oct. 10, 2009 - Honduras 2, United States 3
  • Oct. 14, 2009 - United States 2, Costa Rica 2


  • Number of World Cup appearances: 8
  • All-time record: 25 games played, 6 wins, 3 draws, 16 losses 
  • Goals for: 27
  • Goals against: 51
  • Biggest victory: 3-0 vs. Belgium and Paraguay in 1930
  • Biggest defeat: 7-1 vs. Italy in 1934
  • Overall top scorer: Bert Patenaude (4 goals)
  • Most appearances: Cobi Jones and Earnie Stewart (11 matches)
  • Hosted the World Cup: 1994

World Cup track record

  • 1930 - Semifinals
  • 1934 - First round
  • 1938 - Did not enter
  • 1950 - First round
  • 1954 to 1986 - Did not qualify
  • 1990 - First round
  • 1994 - Second round
  • 1998 - First round
  • 2002 - Quarter-finals
  • 2006 - First round



  • FIFA member since: 1914
  • Team nickname: The Stars and Stripes
  • All-time caps leader: Cobi Jones (164)
  • All-time leading scorer: Landon Donovan (42 goals)

Notable Achievements

  • CONCACAF Gold Cup Champions: 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007
  • CONCACAF Under-20 Champions: 1982, 2007
  • Olympic Silver Medal: 1904
  • Olympic Bronze Medal: 1904 (The U.S. fielded two teams at the 1904 Games in St. Louis)

Legendary Players

Bert Patenaude: Patenaude was a key member of the 1930 U.S. World Cup team that reached the semifinals. He is credited with the first hat trick in World Cup history.

John Harkes: Harkes is one of the most accomplished American-born soccer players ever, leading D.C. United to back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 1996 and 1997. He also played in England and represented the U.S. at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups.